Let’s be honest. If anyone said five years ago that weight training was going to be the hottest fitness women craze in 2019, we would have spluttered into our weight-watchers shakes whilst checking for signs of a non-neck and shiny rippling muscles. Wow, a lot can happen in a couple of years, eh? Let’s weight things up and check out why we should all be discovering our inner strength…
Strong is the new skinny
What we have to look at first is why exercise women and workout girls have changed tact (and attitude) when it comes to what they actually exercise for. In the past, female fitness models have come in all shapes and sizes, but a bit like fashion, tastes change. And now we find ourselves part of an exciting new dawn where the word in the girls’ fitness locker room isn’t smaller or slimmer, but ‘stronger’. And amen to that.
Why did we resist for so long?
A good question and the simple answer is this; strength and resistance training has traditionally been seen as a ‘man’s thing’ and as a result, fit women (unless they were going for a Miss Strong title) were just not thinking about weights as part of their workout. Alongside the giant misconception about them making you look ‘bulky’ and therefore ‘unfeminine’, there just wasn’t a lot going for it. But more on that later.
All women who weight train have their personal reasons for doing so. Of course, they do. But there does seem to be some common themes, the first being a simple matter of safety. Because being strong makes you feel less vulnerable. Whether that’s walking alone down a street at night or needing to carry an Ikea flat pack up three flights to your flat in which you live alone. Being and feeling strong has the ability to inspire confidence and control: over your body and surroundings. It’s about empowerment, not just health. It’s about wellbeing, not just dress size.
The bulky truth
If one thing is going to put you off doing those overhead lunges or chest presses, it’s this. Will I bulk out? Will I lose my neck? Will I look like the Hulk’s girlfriend, albeit less green? No, no and no. We have it on good authority that unless you literally live at the gym lifting 24/7 and eat nothing but steak from morning to night, you won’t get bulky. In actual fact, gaining huge muscle mass is very difficult for women to do. It’s easier for men as they produce 20 times more testosterone than women, which is basically the main hormone needed for muscle growth.
Know your (weight) limits
You definitely need a personal trainer at the gym to get you started and help you work out a plan that concentrates on different areas of your body, from legs, back and biceps to chest, shoulders and triceps. You’ll also start hearing a lot of terminology talk such as deadlift, chest press, bench press, overhead and walking lunges, but don’t be put off. As with all things in life, fitness related or not, it becomes a lot simpler when you know how!
As well as all that lovely definition you’re going to start seeing in your arms, the real benefits of weight training go way beyond the visual. Recent research suggests that stronger equal better physical state. Weight training also helps protect against osteoporosis; a condition that sees bones weaken and is highly prevalent in women. Other awesome side effects include more energy and restful sleep, as well as that lovely natural release of to make us feel better. You’ll see a difference in everyday practicalities too, like carrying heavy shopping bags more easily or even a child who refuses to walk! Remember, the size of your body has very little to do with how much you can lift when strength and resistance training becomes part of your life.
Swisse Me & weight training
Nutrition and exercise have always worked side by side to help achieve the results you want. And when it’s the strength you’re after this is definitely the case. Because getting the right nutrients is what ultimately helps muscle adaptation. And we’re not talking whole chickens here either. You should be eating around 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. Getting your timings right plays a part too – Protein intake before you train helps to maximise muscle gain, and then after you’ve trained helps you recover (including carbs). For healthy diet ideas and protein-rich low-calorie snacks that fill you up, you can’t go wrong with our Boost Me energy range. Delicious too, with Beetroot, Mango, Collagen and Pear to choose from. Banana, from our Replenish Me post-workout range is also another tasty and nutritious way to help your body get the protein it needs throughout the day.